In the Dolomites, not far from the Brenner Pass in Northern Italy, lies the Gardena Valley. Its inhabitants are Ladin speakers, and, apart from the surpassing beauty of the surroundings and its unique regional and linguistic characteristics, this valley has a 300-year-old tradition in the art of woodcarving.
Because of the rough climate the soil of the valley yielded its inhabitants a scanty livelihood, and so, the for the most part numerous families saw themselves in need of other sources of support. Woodcarvers have been at work in the valley since the fifteenth century.
Forests surround the valley and its stone pines provide the carvers with their principal material. From scarcely inch-high figures to statues larger than life-size, all come easily to the practiced hand of the Gardena carver, whose heartfelt fervor and conviction bears witness to deep religious feeling.
Nowadays, sculptures which are entirely and exclusively hand-carved are classified, get the trademark for wooden sculptures produced exclusively and entirely by hand by the experts of the Chamber of Commerce of Bolzano (Italy), which guarantees the authenticity of the creations.
This trademark also informs customers about the authenticity of the work and about the difference between unique creations and industrial wooden figures, which are mass-produced on a pantograph milling machine.